RENEWING YOUR PASSION FOR SPIRITUAL LIVING
1. This past week, I called several people in our congregation and asked them the question: "How's your spiritual walk with the Lord?" A few people I talked to said that their walk with the Lord was good, and I was extremely happy to hear that. On the other hand, some people said that their spiritual walk with the Lord was not all that great. Some said, and I quote,
a. "It could be better."
b. "Some days are better than others."
c. "Its OK."
2. Throughout my years in ministry, I've come across many Christians who just live OK spiritual lives. They are neither spiritually hot nor spiritually cold. They just seem to exist. I can relate with that. I have had periods in my Christian life where I was just living an OK spiritual life and just going through the motions.
3. If you are in a spiritual lull, I have some good news for you . By following the principles that I will present during the next few Sunday mornings, you can regain a passion for spiritual and godly living. You can once again be on fire for the Lord. Remember this, we have been saved to soar, not sink. We have been won to win. We have been converted to conquer.
4. God wants us to live in victory. He wants us to live passionate spiritual lives every day, but Satan wants us to live in defeat or just go through the motions. As Christians, we choose whether to walk in victory or in defeat. Living passionate spiritual lives isn't automatic; we have to earnestly seek after it.
THIS MORNING, AND THE NEXT FEW SUNDAY MORNINGS, I WILL PRESENT SEVERAL PRINCIPLES ON HOW WE CAN LIVE PASSIONATE SPIRITUAL LIVES.
I. FIRST, TO LIVE PASSIONATE SPIRITUAL LIVES, WE MUST KNOW WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE POSSESS.
During the worst part of the Great Depression, an elderly lady walked slowly into a life insurance office. She wanted to know if she could stop paying the premiums on her husband's life insurance policy. "He's been dead sometime now," she said, "and I don't believe I can afford making the payments any more."
The clerk behind the desk looked up her husband's policy and discovered it was worth several hundred thousands of dollars. This poor lady was wealthy, but she had no idea. She didn't understand the benefits of what she possessed.
1. I think that one reason why people do not live passionately for God is because they do not know all of the benefits they posses.
2. As Christians, listen to the benefits we have in Christ.
a. We are children of God.
(1) We are children of God. We are related to the creator of the World. Wow! If anyone ever tells you that you are not worth much--don't believe it. Tell them that you are a child of God; you belong to a royal family.
(2) We have a Father who loves and cherishes us even though at times we sin against Him.
In Reader's Digest, a contributor told of an Aunt Ruby and Uncle Arnie who had adopted a baby boy after five years of trying unsuccessfully to conceive. To their surprise, a short time after the adoption, Aunt Ruby discovered she was pregnant, and she later gave birth to a boy.
One day when the two boys were eight and nine years old, the teller of the story was visiting Aunt Ruby, and a woman in the neighborhood came to visit. Observing the children at play, the woman asked, "Which boy is yours, Ruby?" "Both of them," Aunt Ruby replied.
The visitor persisted. "But I mean, which one is adopted?" Aunt Ruby did not hesitate. In her finest hour, she looked straight at her guest and replied, "I've forgotten."
When we are adopted as God's children, we quickly come to cherish our heavenly Father's love & forgetfulness. For He chooses to forget our sins, to forget our wayward past, and to give us the full rights of sons or daughters. We have royal blood flowing through our veins. We must always remember that we are God's children.
b. We are free from condemnation.
(1) The Bible tells us that prior to becoming Christians, not only were we dead in our transgressions and sins, but we were under a curse (Gal. 3:10). That curse (condemnation) was removed the moment the blood of Christ cleansed us from all of our sins. The moment we were baptized and "in Christ" was the same moment we were placed "out of condemnation."
In the frontier days, a certain bank robber and killer was caught, tried, and sentenced to hang. One week before the execution was to take place, his older brother showed up at the sheriff's office with an unusual request. Since his brother was so young, he asked if he could hang in his place.
Though at first resistant, the sheriff finally granted the request. The older brother died on the gallows in the place of his brother.
That young man's condemnation was removed, and he was set free. This is exactly what Christ did for us. He stepped in, took our place, and died on the cross. His death freed us from the curse and condemnation that hung over us.
(2) Since we are free from condemnation, the guilt of our sin is gone. God has restored us to the innocence of the Garden of Eden. We have once again become pure in the eyes of God."
c. We are heirs to the kingdom of heaven.
(1) Before we gave our lives to Christ, we were slaves of sin. We have gone from being slaves to being heirs. Being an heir means that we are going to inherit something of value. If you ever start feeling depressed and downhearted because you are not very wealthy and loaded with material possessions, remember this: you are the richest person in the world. You are an heir of God. One day you are going to inherit the kingdom of God--which is heaven.
The other day, I read a sad story about a crippled woman who was confined to a wheelchair. When her parents died, she was left to cope all alone. She had no brothers, no sisters, and no living relatives. She lived in a small, cramped apartment. She earned money to pay her rent and buy scant supplies of food by knitting, even though it hurt her crippled hands and fingers terribly.
For forty-two years she barely squeaked by. One day, an elderly man, a friend of her parents, knocked on her door to say hello. When he saw how she was living, he was appalled. "Why are you living in such abject poverty?" he asked. "Since my parents died, I've tried to support myself, but it's been difficult.
"Don't you know about the fortune willed to you by your parents?" In shock, she said, "What fortune?" He went on to tell her of the hundreds of thousands of dollars her parents had left her in a trust account--enough to take care of her for the rest of her life.
When the friend of the family began contacting the attorneys and the banks, he and they discovered that a terrible mistake had been made: she had never been notified of her great fortune.
Over the past forty-two years, the trust had accumulated so much interest that its worth was now in the millions; but she had lived most of her life in poverty because she didn't know what was rightfully hers!
3. As Christians, every day we should remind ourselves of who we are and what we possess. We are "children of God." We are free from "condemnation." We are "heirs of the kingdom of heaven."
1. Every day, we should reflect upon the benefits we have in Christ and then go out and live fervent spiritual lives.
2. That's the message this morning. I hope and pray that this lesson has given you a boost to go out and live not a good spiritual life, not an all right spiritual life, not an OK spiritual life, but a great spiritual life.
3. The Lord's invitation is now extended to anyone who would like to respond to the Lord. If you are subject to His call, please come now as we stand and sing.